Silicon Valley Eggheads Have a Prius Engagement

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
silicon valley eggheads have a prius engagement

We repeat: the Toyota Prius is the official car of the intellectually superior. According to, after trailing Camry, Corolla, Accord, and Civic in Santa Clara County in California's Silicon Valley last year, Prius has outsold all four through May of this year. Ron Diridon, executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University and himself a Prius militant owner, shows no lack of hubris in his assessment of the situation: "The intellectual capacity within Silicon Valley is amazing. That higher level of education reflects a higher level of understanding of the terrible consequences of global warming." Intellectual superiority aside, the free pass to the carpool lane that was available for Prius drivers, the outrageous price of gas in California and the fact you can now buy a Prius for less than sticker had a bit to do with it as well.

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  • HawaiiJim HawaiiJim on Jul 30, 2007

    I like KixStart's perspective. When I see a Prius, I think, "That person made a thoughtful choice and an admirable statement." I'm not a Prius owner and would probably choose a Civic nonhybrid sedan over any hybrid. But those hybrid folks have certainly gotten the rest of us thinking, haven't they?

  • Shaker Shaker on Jul 30, 2007

    I think that the "hubris" useage has hit critical mass here --- I'll be happy to replace it with another (IMHO) apt description of why eggheads like the cars: GEEK COOL!

  • Pch101 Pch101 on Jul 31, 2007
    For those who may buy them because they believe human-driven CO2 emissions cause global warming and they want to reduce their carbon footprint, buying a Prius is putting one’s money where one’s mouth is. What’s wrong with that? I think that there is a real reluctance in the United States for people to believe that consumerism should be ever be limited or restrained. This is a country built on a prosperity ethic; to succeed is good, to spend and consume is divine. The Prius sends the message that we have been doing something wrong, and that this something needs to be fixed. This flies in the face of the message that consumption is our mandate as a people, and is a slap in the face to the widely held belief that we are entitled to consume as much as we can, whenever we can, however we can, because that is our right as Americans. As a result, we end up with attacks on anything that is associated with the environmental movement, which is viewed as an attack against our very right to succeed (even though it isn't -- it's not as if the ambitious and the politically conservative don't need clean air to breathe or water to drink.) We don't want to admit that perhaps we are living unsustainable lifestyles, for to do so would be tantamount to admitting to failure. I wouldn't buy a hybrid just yet, as I am a late adopter who is price conscious and awaiting a few more generations of the product cycle to be completed so that the bugs can be worked out. But at this point, I'm convinced that this is the next step where the auto market is going, as there is no other practical alternative that can both be propagated at a reasonable cost and will be accepted by the public. It is just a matter of time before hybrids are the dominant drivetrain choice in the US. Things like this that begin at the fringe eventually evolve to become mainstream, to the point that the next generation of kids won't even know why there was ever a fuss about it.
  • Ricky Spanish Ricky Spanish on Jul 31, 2007

    Driving a Prius is the same as driving a Hummer it says "I know nothing about vehicles, I take no joy in the driving experience, my car is a fashion accessory"